Miss-Lou honors veterans with parade

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 11, 1999

Veterans from World War I to the present day gathered Thursday in Memorial Park for a ceremony honoring their service to their country.

&uot;We love you, we honor you and we respect you,&uot; said Brig. Gen. Virgil Nix of the Mississippi State Guard, guest speaker for the annual Veterans Day parade and program. During his speech, Nix had asked all of the veterans to stand before the podium.

To the various school band members gathered for the event, Nix said, &uot;I hope you saw those people – that’s why you’re here today.&uot;

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The annual Veterans Day program began with a parade up Main Street from the bluffs.

Perfect weather greeted participants in Thursday’s parade from the intersection of Main and Broadway streets to Memorial Park downtown.

Several local bands participated in the parade, including the Vidalia High School Band, the Adams County Christian School Band and the Natchez Middle School Band.

Bernie Beethe and his family were just passing through Natchez and stopped on Main Street to take in the parade.

&uot;We’ve only been in the U.S. two weeks — we’re from Mongolia on our way to Ville Platte, La.,&uot; Beethe said.

Viola Grover of Natchez was also watching the parade

&uot;My husband is a vet and I have a daughter in the Natchez Middle School Band,&uot; she said. Grover also said she has a son in the Natchez High School Junior ROTC who missed the parade because he was taking exams at school.

Natchezians emerged from store fronts along Main Street as the sounds of the bands, police sirens and fire trucks began.

Agnes Anderson and Felice Fortenberry’s kindergarten classes from Frazier Primary School stood on the steps of the old Britton & Koontz Bank building, waving small plastic flags distributed by the VFW&160;Post 9573 Auxiliary.

Tim Spain, director of the Natchez National Cemetery, welcomed the people gathered in Memorial Park at &uot;the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.&uot;

&uot;This nation owes a great debt,&uot; he said, for the &uot;sacrifices for freedom and country&uot; that were made by America’s servicemen and women.

The parade improves every year, according to organizers of the event.

&uot;It gets bigger and better every year,&uot; said Natchez Mayor Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot; Brown.

&uot;There’s no prettier setting than what we have right here,&uot; he said, gesturing to Memorial Park. &uot;And we’re not finished yet – we’re still working on it.&uot;

Jerry Stowers, commander of VFW Post 9573, agreed with Brown. &uot;It just keeps getting bigger,&uot; he said. &uot;People have come to expect it now.&uot;

Master of ceremonies Erle Drane, commander of American Legion Post 4, recognized local dignitaries attending the program at Memorial Park, including the mayor.

&uot;We’re always glad to see the mayor here,&uot; Drane said. &uot;We owe credit to Butch for this park we’re gathered in today,&uot; he said.

Yvonne Robbins, veterans service officer for Natchez, presented Max Voss with an American flag for his dedicated service to Natchez.

A veteran of World War II, Voss raises and lowers the American flag in Memorial Park each day.